By Maddie Gionet, Co-Editor in Chief, @MaddieGNA
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (Sept. 29) – More than 150 St. Bonaventure University community members came together on Saturday to fulfill the wish of one woman – to create warm snuggly blankets for cancer patients.
“When my mom was diagnosed with cancer, she had difficulty sleeping,” said Jim Mahar, son of Marge Mahar who came up with the idea for this project. “One night, she was praying for all the people in the country who had sent her get well cards, and she said she felt like she was being surrounded by a warm snuggly blanket.”
And just like that, Warm Snuggly Blanket began.
Warm Snuggly Blanket works to create and send blankets and letters to cancer patients as a way of support, according to the project’s website.
To show support for those undergoing cancer treatment around the country, the St. Bonaventure community and BonaResponds worked to make as many blankets as they could during a day of service.
With two shifts running from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 1:30 to 4, students, professors and members of the community worked to cut, tie and sew patches onto 276 blankets that will be a symbol of support and hope to people fighting cancer in remembrance of Marge.
“Some of the blankets will go locally to people who’ve asked for them, one will go to a little girl in Florida, but the bulk of them will go to the Kevin Guest House in Buffalo,” said Mahar, an associate professor of finance and the coordinator of BonaResponds.
Mahar and members of BonaResponds planned the day along with other collections to help out the community.
“Today, we did the Warm Snuggly Blanket project, wrote letters to soldiers, had a food drive and a shoe drive called “Soles4Souls,” said Rick Lewis, a senior finance and accounting major.
Lewis, who helped run the service day, has been part of BonaResponds for three years and was glad to see the turnout.
“I hope the blankets bring people comfort, and I hope this day also gets people interested in BonaResponds and volunteering on a weekly basis with us,” said Lewis.
The volunteer work that the Bonaventure students did today confirmed to community members their initial thoughts on Bona students.
“There were more students here than I expected which was not a surprise but a confirmation of the Bonaventure spirit,” said Sue Massaro of Olean. “It’s nice to see they want to make a contribution.”
And a contribution is exactly what the students said they wanted to make.
“Dr. Mahar always talks about how he really cares for people,” said Adrian Boone, a senior business information systems major. “He gives his time and his money to help others, and those are attributes I admire.”
Other students agreed with Boone.
“I’ve always made excuses as to why I couldn’t come volunteer, but today has shown me the impact of our work,” said Blair Bedgood, a senior finance major. “I hope to continue doing this – a lot can come of this.”
And a lot did come of this day.
With upbeat music blasting until the last “Pray. Fight. Win.” patch, created by Marge during her last day of chemo, was sewn onto the last blanket Mahar knew a lot more would keep coming of this.
“This is not the last Warm Snuggly Blanket event by any stretch,” said Mahar. “Making a blanket and donating it to this project is open to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and I know it will grow significantly. My mom was always about helping, and I think today not only are her ripples continuing, they’re expanding.”
For more information on how to get involved with the Warm Snuggly Blanket project please visit the project’s website.
BonaResponds began after Hurricane Katrina with the mission of helping others through volunteering, according to its website. Along with service projects on the weekends in the local area, the group has traveled as far as Enterprise, Ala. to as close as Buffalo, N.Y. The volunteer group will be traveling to Camden, N.J. during St. Bonaventure University’s Columbus Day Break. If you are interested in being part of this service trip, please visit the BonaResponds website.